Stress was the main reason lawyers called legal helpline LawCare in 2012, the charity’s statistics for the year revealed today.

LawCare opened 378 case files last year, slightly down on the 392 opened in 2011. Stress continued to be the most common issue reported, cited by 69% of callers – the same percentage as in the previous year.

Depression and alcohol were the next most frequently reported problems, mentioned by 13% and 6% of callers respectively, with other issues making up the remaining 12%.

Of the 272 callers who identified a specific cause of their problem, workload (28%), financial problems (19%), disciplinary issues (14%) and bullying (14%) were the most frequently cited.

Other reasons cited were ethical issues (8%), redundancy (7%) and relationship problems (6%).

Lawyers working in litigation accounted for the highest number of calls (17%), followed by commercial (15%) and high street and private client (12%). Family lawyers and conveyancers each accounted for 10% of calls.

The data shows that 62% of callers were female and 38% male, and just over a third (35%) were trainees or had been qualified five years or less.

Among callers reporting problems with alcohol misuse, 87% had been qualified for 10 years or more, compared with 37% of those complaining of stress that had been qualified for more than a decade.

The words to linkLawCare report suggests that the figures indicate that new lawyers start drinking to alleviate the stress and then later find themselves addicted.

LawCare’s freephone helpline is 0800 279 6888.